duct

When the Problem Is Heat

Posted on March 06,2015 by ScottG in air conditionder

If you have problems dealing with the heat, you probably wouldn't like the desert Southwest, especially when conventional air conditioning is simply too expensive to use on a regular basis. That seems to be the case for a GBA reader who's trying to learn more about building in a climate where the challenge of staying cool far outweighs the minor and occasional inconvenience of staying warm.

Banish These Details From Your Plans

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in bay window

Is it possible to disassemble old shipping pallets and glue the pieces of lumber together to make furniture? Of course it’s possible; some woodworkers have used this method to make beautiful tables and chairs. There’s a fly in the ointment, however: while it’s possible, it’s not very easy. Many commonly used construction methods, design details, and materials fall into a category I would call “possible but not easy.” I decided to create a list of items that fall into this category.

Can’t Anyone Get Things Right?

Posted on March 06,2015 by CarlSeville in duct

In my business of certifying buildings, most of my work involves working with architects, contractors, and trade contractors who are trying to create green buildings. Unfortunately, they frequently miss the mark in some key areas. Many of them are well intended but don’t have a broad enough view of their projects. Others only do the minimum required to meet a green building standard forced on them by someone else. And a few, thankfully, seem to get it and work hard to do the right things. This post, the first in a series about problems I run across, will focus on HVAC.

All About Furnaces and Duct Systems

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in condensing furnace

UPDATED on October 2, 2014 with more information on duct system design. Many different appliances can be used to heat a house, including boilers, water heaters, heat pumps, and wood stoves. However, most homes in the U.S. are heated by a forced-air furnace. These devices are connected to ducts that deliver heated air to registers throughout the house. Different types of furnaces are manufactured to burn a variety of fuels, including natural gas, propane, oil, and firewood. The most common furnace fuel in the U.S. is natural gas.

Use Plenum Trusses To Keep Ducts Out of Your Attic

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in attic

If you want to do something really stupid with the ducts for a heating and air conditioning system, put them in an unconditioned attic.

How to Get Your Ducts Inside the Building Enclosure

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in building enclosure

I'm a big advocate of getting ducts inside the building enclosure. In cooling climates, getting ducts out of an unconditioned attic can save you 15% on your electricity bills. It can reduce the size of air conditioner you need by 25%. If it's not in such a harsh environment, your air conditioner will last longer, too.

Thou Shalt Commission Thy Ducts!

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in air conditioner

The typical new home gets a heating and air conditioning system that's about two times too large. I've  discussed oversized air conditioners many times before.

An Epidemic of Duct Disease and Enclosure Problems

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in AC

When an air conditioner breaks down in hot weather, homeowners reach for their phone. The HVAC company then sends someone out to the home with the immediate goal of getting the AC running again so the occupants will cool off. The thing is, though, that most homes have problems that run deeper than the cause of the broken air conditioner.

How to Install Flex Duct Properly

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in Air Diffusion Council

I've written a lot about duct problems (especially those in flex duct) because they're so abundant. A couple of years ago, I even wrote an article in the Energy Vanguard Blog about whether or not flex duct should be banned. My answer was no — but that we need better quality control.

Good Ducts, Bad Ducts

Posted on March 06,2015 by CarlSeville in duct

Whether they actually do it or not, I think almost everyone involved in high performance buildings recognizes that the best place to put our ducts is inside conditioned space. Most builders in my area haven’t made the change, and with the exception of the occasional house with an insulated basement, they still put most air handlers and ducts in the attic.

Should Flex Duct Be Banned?

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

Ah, flex duct. That bane of home performance contractors and green builders everywhere. If you’ve seen only one forced-air duct system that uses flex, you’ve most likely seen a bad installation.

How to Track Down Leaks in Forced-Air Ductwork

Posted on March 06,2015 by ScottG in duct

Leaky ducts in a forced-air heating and cooling system are an all-too-common problem contributing to significant energy losses and lower indoor air quality. Mark Renfrow knows that. Duct tests at his 3,400-sq. ft. home revealed “huge leakage.” A contractor addressed the problem by applying mastic to any accessible ductwork. But the key word is “accessible.” Many parts of the system apparently are not so easy to reach.

The Piecemeal Approach to Green Building

Posted on March 06,2015 by CarlSeville in advertising

Almost every time I am talking with someone about green building, whether a potential or current client, or just a casual conversation, inevitably solar power comes up. This causes me to go into full on curmudgeon mode, pointing out that solar panels are pretty much pointless on homes until you’ve done everything else you can to make it more efficient and healthy. Solar is hot, trendy, hip, something you can touch (and might want to touch, as opposed to insulation), and a marketer’s dream, as are many other building products, all of which are seem to be labeled “green.”

Keeping Ducts Indoors

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in conditioned space

If you live in New England, you know that furnaces are installed in basements. But any New Englander who moves to Oregon soon learns that furnaces are installed in garages. And anyone who retires to Texas discovers that furnaces are installed in unconditioned attics. Of course, there are many other examples of similar regional differences in construction practices. But this is one regional difference that matters. New Englanders have it right: furnaces and ductwork belong inside a home’s conditioned space, not in the great outdoors.

Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 2

Posted on March 06,2015 by ShelterNerd in duct

In the Southeast where I live and build, we mostly rely on ducted HVAC systems for heating and (especially) for cooling. So when I attended the Westford Building Science Symposium in early August, I was very excited to sit in on David Hill's presentation on HVAC systems, especially as Dr. Joe's introduction paraphrased Samuel Clemens’ observation: "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble; it's the things we know that just ain't so."

Will Minisplits Replace Forced-Air Heating and Cooling Systems?

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in airflow

Because forced-air heating and cooling systems are assembled on site from a great many parts, there are many ways for installers to make mistakes. Researchers have repeatedly shown that a high percentage of residential forced-air systems have major problems, including duct systems that are poorly designed, poorly located, and leaky. Other problems include incorrect refrigerant charge and too much or too little airflow over the cooling coil.

Sealing Ducts: What’s Better, Tape or Mastic?

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in duct

Most residential duct systems have numerous leaks that waste energy and lead to room-to-room pressure imbalances. Unfortunately, though, few building inspectors outside of California bother to enforce existing code requirements that residential duct seams be sealed with mastic or high-quality duct tape.

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